J&K administration decides to hold block development polls soon

According to Rohit Kansal, Principal Secretary of Planning and Development, the schedule for the BDC polls, the second tier of panchayati raj system, is being drawn up. Photo: ANI/Twitter.

The block development council (BDC) elections will be held soon in Jammu and Kashmir and the adminstration is preparing for it, an official said on Saturday (August 24).

According to Rohit Kansal, Principal Secretary of Planning and Development, the schedule for the BDC polls, the second tier of panchayati raj system, is being drawn up and “we are on course”.

“There has been an important decision taken regarding the elections to the BDC as the next step towards operationalizing and institutionalizing the panchayat raj mechanism in the state,” Kansal, who is also a state administration spokesperson, told reporters here.

The Secretary, Rural Development Department, Sheetal Nanda, said that the elections would be held in 316 block councils across the state and the administration is aiming to complete the process by the end of September. The reservation exercise has been completed in Kashmir, and it is in the last leg in the Jammu region, Nanda said.

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“The preparations are on and the first and foremost step is to conduct the reservation exercise which has been completed in the valley and is in its last stage in Jammu division, after which we shall approach the government for notification for this election,” she said.

Officials said that the situation in the Kashmir Valley was gradually improving, where restrictions are in place after the Centre’s decision to abrogate provisions of Article 370. Elections to urban local bodies in the state were held in November-December last year.

The panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir were last conducted in 2011, when the Omar Abdullah-led government was in power.

The next year, the government had ordered to conduct the BDC polls, but they were shelved at the eleventh hour following objections raised by senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on no reservation in the BDCs.